By no means essential to fans, Deep in a Dream: The Ultimate Chet Baker Collection is still a wonderful resource for first-time listeners to discover Baker. His gorgeous trumpet playing displayed a passion and energy that was fueled by a tragic life filled with bad luck, jail sentences, and heroin abuse. Despite all of his problems, he still maintained an incredible sound, giving his music the emotional punch it needed to rise above simple pop music. Tracks like "My Funny Valentine" and "The Thrill Is Gone" are some of the most beautiful jazz songs ever performed, and their power lies in the lazy slurs and tense bursts supplied by Baker's horn. Fans may want this for the previously unreleased vocal tracks of "Blue Room" and "Spring Is Here," but this is more oriented toward curious listeners. Few other Baker collections could match this for sheer quality, so anyone looking to start their journey into his catalog would do themselves a favor by picking this up first.
AllMusic Review by Bradley Torreano